Chairperson, before I commence with my speech I would like to make you aware that I had a bilateral agreement with the DA just before you came in. We have agreed that they are going to donate their minutes to me, so they are not going to ... [Laughter.]
Well, hon member, I hope that deal was done together with the House Table. [Laughter.]
They said they will facilitate that because they have Whips - I didn't have a Whip with me.
Chairperson, Deputy Minister of the Department of Public Service and Administration, the chairperson of the portfolio committee, the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, the chairperson of the Government Employees Medical Scheme, Gems, directors-general, heads of entities, distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present the first Budget Vote of the Department of Public Service and Administration in this fifth administration of the ANC-led government. I want sincerely to thank the people of South Africa for giving us a further mandate to accelerate the improvement of their lives during the next five years and beyond.
I am also deeply humbled to present this Budget Vote only four days ahead of the 47th commemoration of the passing away of the 8th ANC president and the first African recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Laureate Chief Albert Luthuli. He was a militant, disciplined and uncompromising freedom fighter who had a genuine love for South Africa.
Tomorrow, our country will also unite in the 67 minutes for the Nelson Mandela Day campaign. This will be the first time we do so without the founding father of our democracy. As we celebrate the life of Madiba, it is an ideal opportunity to build on his life-long belief that we should serve our people every day of our lives.
It is the lives of these two giants of the anti-apartheid struggle, Chief Albert Luthuli and Madiba, and many others, whom we want to emulate to produce high-calibre public servants as we start the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society.
This Budget Vote provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our constitutional mandate to deliver public services that are governed by democratic values and principles. These include, amongst other things, high standards of professional ethics, effective use of resources and a public administration that is developmentally oriented. The services we provide must be impartial, fair, equitable and without bias.
We are, therefore, proud to indicate that, as we celebrate twenty years of democracy, our government has been able, amongst other things, to reform legislation and policies, restructure state institutions, decentralise public administration and strengthen intergovernmental relations in order to provide integrated services to our people.
We have established a single government system which has consolidated the fragmented apartheid governance structures into a system that places our people first. However, we also acknowledge that still more needs to be done.
Therefore, we are proud to say that our democratic public administration system will strive to deliver all our developmental objectives as outlined in the National Developmental Plan, NDP. Together, these efforts will keep us on the trajectory to realise our national strategic objective of building a united, democratic, nonsexist, nonracial, just and prosperous South Africa.
This is indeed a good story to tell. As the Department of Public Service and Administration, we are proud to be part of developing this good story.
I will be covering the core mandate of our portfolio while the Deputy Minister will add more detail about some of the work done by our portfolio organisations, which include the Government Employee Medical Scheme, the Centre for Public Service Innovation, the Open Government Partnership interventions, the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Thusong Service Centre and the community development workers, CDWs, programmes.
The National Development Plan asserts that the Public Service is central to the effective delivery of its developmental objectives. To address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, as identified in the National Development Plan, the state needs to play both a transformative and developmental role.
To this end, the Public Service has to reinvent itself to deliver this important task. For us to succeed we require well-run and effectively co- ordinated state institutions with skilled public servants, who are committed to serving our people.
Together with relevant stakeholders, during this financial year the Department of Public Service and Administration will focus on programmes which will ensure that all public servants are capacitated to ensure the success of the National Development Plan. We will begin to look at the critical task of reinventing how we work as a department and how we work as public servants.
This process will start in September or October this year. However, this is not a short-term task. We will require input from all departments, labour organisations, academic institutions and civil society.
It is important that we deal with the issue of the quality of services we provide when compared to what is perceived to be a bloated Public Service. Recent media articles have mischievously linked this to the establishment of the new departments and Ministries. Let me assure this House that the Department of Public Service and Administration, in partnership with other stakeholders including the Presidency and National Treasury, has established a task team that is currently looking at the establishment of the new departments.
We will do our utmost to ensure that the creation and resourcing of these departments is done in an accountable manner. Where applicable, we will consider identifying and transferring various units, which currently exist in other departments and are doing related work, to the newly established departments. However, where certain professional skills or experience are required, we will create the necessary environment for those skills or experience to be sourced to ensure that the new departments function optimally as soon as we can.
To protect our hard-earned democracy, we remain determined to root out corrupt practices within the Public Service. We are of the opinion that our best defence against corruption is transparency, accountability and the knowledge that any person involved in corrupt activities will be prosecuted. We therefore call on all public servants to prioritise serving our people responsibly and with honour.
When it comes to fighting corruption strong leadership is critical. As a department, we are strategically located to create an enabling policy- framework environment for the rest of the Public Service to combat this scourge. To this end, we have noticed that the National Anti-Corruption Forum, NACF, comprised of civil society, business and government, has not met for some time. As a result the Public Service Anti-Corruption Strategy has not been monitored effectively.
To remedy this situation, we have already requested the Public Service Commission, which acts as secretariat to that structure, to immediately convene this forum so that we will be able to discuss and see what is it that we need to do to enhance the work which we are charged to do.
I can confirm that the Department of Public Service and Administration will begin to strengthen relationships and increase our interactions with the provinces. Our experiences of the past 20 years of democracy have exposed certain management challenges that must be addressed. We will adopt a proactive approach in order to prevent provinces or provincial departments from being declared section 100 intervention areas as outlined in the Constitution. To achieve this, we will increase our efforts to work more strategically with provincial premiers and the National Council of Provinces to ensure that we support the provincial administrations.
We will also begin to look at establishing an intergovernmental structure best suited to identify issues before they become major crises. It is important to note that this effort will be based on establishing an effective and collaborative partnership between the Department of Public Service and Administration, the Presidency, the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, National Treasury, the Department of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Auditor-General and the Public Service Commission.
The implementation of the Batho Pele policy will be enhanced to ensure that the efforts to improve service delivery bear fruit. The Department of Public Service and Administration will immediately start to strengthen, institutionalise and mainstream the Batho Pele programme, with a direct focus on training frontline officials.
This, we are confident, will also lead to better and more productive relationships between public servants and the public. These efforts will be further enhanced by streamlining and aligning the individual departmental complaints and compliments systems to the national Complaints and Compliments Framework. By ensuring the implementation of the Batho Pele principles in the public sector, we will indeed contribute towards transforming the Public Service into an effective delivery machine.
During this financial year we will also host the second National Batho Pele Excellence Awards. The awards are aimed at recognising and rewarding hardworking public servants and to serve as an incentive for all public servants to strive towards excellence in the execution of their duties. [Applause.] Thank you.
The Department of Public Service and Administration has also secured a negotiated social contract between citizens, the state and public servants. We were humbled by the signing of the Service Charter for the Public Service in August last year. The charter promotes service standards by calling on public servants to meet and exceed them. The charter also seeks to improve service delivery programmes, and reinforces the commitment of all partners to service delivery improvement for the benefit of our citizens.
It would not be wrong to say that we are on course with regard to reinventing and establishing an effective, efficient and responsive Public Service.
The implementation of our Performance Management and Development System, PMDS, for heads of departments and other senior management service members is not as yet optimal. Challenges in this regard include the failure to enter into and sign performance agreements on time and the lack of performance assessments and feedback.
Our focus will now shift towards finalising the revision of the policy on the performance management and development of heads of department and senior management service members and to ensure its effective implementation. Improved human-resources capacity in departments is critical for the effective implementation of the National Development Plan. It is therefore essential that human-resources professionals are not only equipped to enforce rules and implement administrative processes, but also to advise senior management on all aspects of strategic human-resources management and development.
Another challenge is the absence of clear and formalised delegation within departments. This creates instability and makes it harder to establish clear lines of accountability. For this reason, we will provide proper delegation guidelines that will provide junior managers with the authority they require to make and implement decisions.
The National Development Plan highlights the importance of adopting a longer-term approach to developing the skills and professional ethos that underpin a development-oriented Public Service. This includes building the skills base for both now and the future, to contribute towards employment creation and ensure that public sector workplaces become training spaces where entrants are adequately supported in order to develop their skills for employment within the Public Service or the private sector.
To this end, the department will be supporting the appointment of youth in learnerships, internships and artisan programmes in the Public Service over the next five years, whilst providing an opportunity for permanent employment within the Public Service. [Applause.]
To address challenges raised by the Auditor-General in regard to operations management in departments, the department is supporting the implementation of an operations management framework in the Departments of Health, Human Settlements and Education, with a particular focus on improving business processes and standard operating procedures for selected services that the departments provide to the citizens.
To further respond to skills challenges raised in the National Development Plan, we committed ourselves to undertaking additional reforms in the Public Service, one of which is the transformation of the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, into the National School of Government. We note the experience of public sector transformation projects throughout the world which teaches us that good governance is not an end in itself but that good governance helps an organisation to achieve its objectives, on the one hand. On the other hand, international experience also teaches us that poor governance can bring about a decline or even the demise of an organisation.
International experience informs us that we cannot change our systems, structures and processes and have our public servants thinking and acting the same, as if nothing has changed. This change of mindset knows no colour or ideological boundaries.
It is about changing how we deal with citizens. It is about producing public servants who understand their role of serving our people unconditionally. The department, in partnership with the National School of Government, has already designed and started a compulsory induction programme for all newly appointed public servants, whilst refresher courses have been identified for current public servants.
In our 2014 election manifesto we committed to, inter alia, forging a disciplined, people-oriented and professional Public Service, and promoting education and training for public servants. To achieve this we will turn every public sector workplace into a training space with the aim to develop industrious public servants.
To further respond to the skills challenges raised in the National Development Plan, we committed ourselves to undertaking further reforms in the Public Service, one of which was the transformation of Palama, as I said.
The strategic intent of the National School of Government is to ensure 100% coverage of education, learning and development across the three spheres of government. In supporting the President's call for more internship opportunities in the public sector, the National School of Government will also intensify its training of unemployed youth graduates through its Breaking Barriers to Entry programme.
As the custodian of labour relations in the Public Service, the Department of Public Service and Administration continues to support departments in the implementation of the disciplinary code and procedure - this includes support to five departments that are under section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution in Limpopo - through the labour relations forum. The department continues to build the capacity of labour relations practitioners to strengthen the capacity, systems and procedures in departments.
Some of the key challenges in regard to discipline management in the Public Service include the lack of accurate information on disciplinary cases. This information includes the number and nature of cases per department and province, the time it takes to resolve them and how much these cases are costing the state. To address this ... [Interjections.]
Hon Minister, you have one minute left.
Oh, I thought the Table had taken into account my earlier intervention, but nevertheless, thank you, Chairperson.
As you would know, the South African State Information Technology Agency, Sita, has migrated to the Department of Telecommunications, but the responsibility to roll out e-governance in the country still remains with us and, together with stakeholders, we should be able to do that.
In conclusion, as you know we have a responsibility to the Public Service Commission. We are working closely with the commission to deal with challenges which the commission itself is facing, as well as the Public Service in general.
We would like to ask Parliament to support our department, to support the Public Service Commission and the institutions which report to us to ensure that we execute our mandate. Therefore, we recommend that Parliament supports our budget. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson; hon Minister for the Public Service and Administration, the hon Collins Chabane; Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, the hon Ayanda Dlodlo; hon members; chairperson of the Public Service Commission; directors-general; heads of entities; ladies and gentlemen, I consider it to be a singular honour and privilege to be granted an opportunity to participate in this debate on the eve of what would have been the 96th birthday celebration of our struggle icon, the late Ntate Mandela.
As we celebrate his legacy, we would do well to remember his exemplary service to the people for 67 years. I call on all our people to join the global initiatives and programmes aimed at celebrating the life of Tata Mandela, the ultimate embodiment of the values of a selfless Public Service, which we seek to emulate.
The ANC-led government acknowledges the confidence that was shown by the people of South Africa as they affirmed the political correctness of the ANC policies in the recently held fifth general elections. We will never fail the 12 million South Africans who gave the ANC an overwhelming victory.
Our critical revolutionary task as the Fifth Parliament is to drive the realisation of the aspirations of the people of South Africa about their own Department of Public Service and Administration. The people of South Africa envision the Department Public Service and Administration as one which will develop the capacity of the state to deal with their challenges in a way which recognises the deprivation and triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
They yearn for a state with the necessary capacity to provide them with safe drinking water. They look to the state to provide them with energy in a way which will respond to the global environmental challenges of the 21st century. They want to see the state improving its capacity to provide sanitation and integrated human settlement, which undermines apartheid spatial planning, and many more services.
Through this budget, the ANC-led government will dedicate resources to ensure that we give meaning to the objective expressed in the ANC's strategy and tactics document of the 53rd national conference in which a call is made for a Public Service which directs efforts to build a developmental state with technical, strategic and organisational capacity, among other attributes.
We urge public servants to practise being the kind of public servant that President Jacob Zuma, a warrior of our liberation struggle, said we need - a different type of public servant, a public servant who respects the will of the citizens, a public servant who values the public resources entrusted to him to manage, a public servant who comes to work on time and performs his duties diligently.
This is in line with the constitutional mandate in Chapter 10, section 195, which sets out the basic values and principles that must be adhered to in governing the Public Service and Administration. The Department of Public Service and Administration should take the lead in ensuring that the National Development Plan, NDP, is implemented by co-ordinating interventions aimed at achieving an effective, efficient and development- orientated Public Service. Such a Public Service is an essential element of a capable and developmental state.
The committee reaffirms the mandate of the department, as stipulated in the performance plans, as a continuation of the fifth administration in achieving the eight NDP suboutcomes of Vision 2030, which are: a stable political administration free of interference; a Public Service that is a career of choice; sufficient technical and specialist professional skills; effective, efficient management and operations systems; procurement systems that deliver value for money; strengthened accountability to citizens; improved interdepartmental co-ordination; and improved mechanisms to promote ethical behaviour in the Public Service.
The delivery agreement outcome 12 remains a strategic guide in the implementation of the programme of action for government in ensuring that there is access to quality service delivery, human resources management and development, tackling of corruption and citizen participation.
In celebration of 20 years of democracy and moving South Africa forward, substantial progress has been made in improving government performance and service delivery in most areas. Sound norms and standards have been developed to ensure that the state machinery functions optimally.
We support the Budget Vote for the following reasons: the filling of the funded vacant posts within the prescribed period in the Public Service; achieving the 2% target of people with disabilities; the improvement of the delegation of powers in the Public Service and Administration; strengthening procurement in the Public Service; the inculcation of Batho Pele principles; and building capacity in government departments.
Furthermore, we also wish to support the following aspects of the Budget Vote: measures for dealing with disciplinary cases, including technical assistance; initiatives aimed at professionalising the Public Service and local government and ensuring that these become careers of choice; prohibitions placed on public servants conducting business with government; and strengthening the protection of whistleblowers.
The committee also supports the department in its efforts to establish an office of standards and compliance in the Public Service in order to promote professional ethics and compliance with norms and standards in the Public Service domain.
Hon Minister, the country bestowed its trust on your leadership to achieve a multiyear salary agreement in order to ensure stability in the Public Service. We call for the finalisation and implementation of the government employee housing scheme, and this should be expedited in order to improve the living conditions of public servants.
The National School of Government model remains relevant and is crucial for our democracy if we are to instil the ethos of bettering the lives of our people. The committee welcomes the initiative of the National School of Government in supporting the national and provincial departments as well as local government with the implementation of the directives on mandatory training days and training programmes for the Senior Management Service, known as SMS.
Strengthening the recruitment process of the SMS is part of professionalising the Public Service. We support the compulsory induction programme in the Public Service for new recruits and long-serving employees. This programme should be intensified to promote patriotism and serve the nation with dignity and pride.
We support the Budget Vote regarding the National School of Government, which should bolster the improvement of on-site evaluation on its training interventions and build more capacity for the execution of the Public Service mandate.
We welcome the introduction of the Public Service Barometer Dashboard indicator-based assessment of the state of the Public Service against the nine values and principles of Section 195 of the Constitution. The dashboard provides hard data on the state of the Public Service which forms part of the evidence based on the Public Service Commission, PSC, diagnosis on the main underlying problems.
Through national and provincial stakeholders' engagement and presentations to parliamentary committees and the provincial legislatures, the barometer dashboard demonstrated its strength and usefulness. The portfolio committee appeals for maximum co-operation of government departments in submitting their financial disclosure forms and in determining the veracity of information supplied.
The committee supports the PSC in dealing decisively with cases reported on the corruption hotline. Our support for this critical intervention is a principled one which gives expression to the historic constitutional aspirations enshrined in section 195(1) of the Constitution, where the Public Service is characterised as one which should promote and maintain a high standard of professional ethics; promote efficient, economic and effective use of resources; and be accountable to the public.
The manifesto states that the skills and capabilities of the state will be improved and partnerships for delivery with the private sector will be promoted. The committee applauds public officials who go beyond the call of duty, challenging themselves to provide out-of-the-box solutions by being creative and introducing extraordinary ways in which to deliver services. The culture of innovative practice should be entrenched in the public sector.
Whilst we value lessons from international best practices we have to acknowledge brilliant service delivery innovations that have been employed by dedicated public officials in our own country. Of importance is the need for us to know about these tried and tested innovations so that the whole country benefits from them. Over the last 11 years more than 600 projects have been entered for the Centre for Public Service Innovation, CPSI, award. This demonstrates that there is evidence of a growing culture of innovation and research in the Public Service. Entrants who did not make it to the finals should be given opportunities to explore their innovations.
I would like to thank and acknowledge the private sector companies for their contribution in assisting government to realise its policy on public- private partnership. Indeed, we are moving South Africa forward!
Corruption impedes service delivery and undermines public confidence in the state. The findings of the BDO audit firm on corruption show that government corruption amounted to a total of R70 billion. In 2010, this audit firm estimated that the total annual leakage from fraud, theft and corruption amounted to R100 billion. To date, figures might have escalated. Corruption is unethical conduct and it would depend on an individual's conscience whether he or she refrains from such conduct.
Baheso, re a le kopa hle, tlohelang bobodu! [People, we beg you, refrain from corruption!]
Because no matter what policies we put in place, if people do not decide on their own, if they do not have the consciousness to refrain from corruption, there is no way that we will win. Please ...
... ka kopo hle, tlohelang bobodu. [... we beg you, refrain from corruption.]
As part of our mandate, the committee will work full force and tirelessly and will also commit all its resources and efforts to ensuring that the Public Administration Management Bill becomes the law of the country.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to hon Nosipho Ntwanambi and hon Grace Dube for sacrificing their lives in improving the lives of others. I would also like to pay tribute to Patience Ringani, a fellow public administration scholar from the University of Pretoria, who recently passed away. "Death be not proud!"
The ANC supports Budget Vote 12 for accelerated service delivery and an effective, efficient and capable state. Let's move South Africa forward. We support this Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, allow me to congratulate the hon Minister, Collins Chabane, on his appointment as Minister for the Public Service and Administration. Minister, indeed you have an enormous task that lies ahead of you in the Public Service to turn it into an effective service delivery machine. The DA is looking forward to working with you to improve the lives of our people.
Chairperson, good financial management is of paramount importance when it comes to running an efficient institution. It is particularly important for us to allocate and spend funds wisely. Corruption and mismanagement of funds are the main reasons that prohibit this department from delivering its projects within specific timeframes, within specific budget allocations and according to specifications.
The most common and unlawful behaviour amongst public servants is that of financial misconduct and unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. When we tune in to the radio and open the daily newspapers, all we hear and read of is corruption, corruption and more corruption. According to the Public Service Act of 1994, one of the key requirements of government officials in the Public Service, at both national and provincial level, is to perform their responsibilities, making efficient, effective and economic use of public resources.
On many occasions President Zuma assured South Africans that the Public Service is in good health, but the question remains: What is the real diagnosis of the state of affairs in our Public Service, and do we, as a country, have the political will to deepen democracy and build effective and legitimate institutions grounded in the rule of law and respect for human rights?
On too many occasions we have failed in our constitutional responsibility to appoint suitable persons within the Public Service domain. The Public Service Commission, PSC, has a constitutional mandate vested with custodial, oversight responsibilities to monitor, evaluate and investigate public administration practices.
Just last week on Wednesday, the Public Service Commission's bid to enhance its powers to enforce its directives was met with opposition by the ruling party. It argued that there are too many monitoring bodies dealing with corruption, leaving the watchdog toothless. The Public Service Commission informed the portfolio committee that their hands are tied when recommendations are ignored by the departments. Instead they rely on oversight by Parliament to enforce compliance.
We cannot afford to remain complacent. If departments previously enforced the recommendations of the Public Service Commission, we would not have had situations where in 2009-10, criminal proceedings were instituted against employees in only 22% of the cases of employees charged with financial misconduct. In 2010-11, this figure went down to 20%.
Although this figure improved and increased to 32% in 2011-12, it still means that in 28% of cases no criminal proceedings were instituted, and quite shocking is the fact that in 40% of cases the department could not say whether criminal proceedings were instituted or not - scared because it is about family, it is about friends, it is about cadre deployment.
If you look today at the deployment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, one cannot resist saying that within the ruling party you find that the political climate is always cloudy and cold with thunderstorms threatening to lose three metros in South Africa!
The Legacy Report of the Fourth Parliament suggests that the National Treasury increases the Public Service Commission's budget to extend its mandate to all spheres of government, including that of local government. We have to ask ourselves whether this will really be necessary when this body has such limited powers. What is the purpose of expansion when its recommendations are disregarded? We are losing over R25 billion to R30 billion a year - R1 000 per second.
Chairperson, in my constituency in the North West province, the head of the social development department, Adv Matshidiso Mogale, was sent away on special leave following his being implicated by the Public Service Commission's reports after it had investigated numerous operational issues such as the lease of offices and conduct of senior managers. Advocate Mogale was appointed for merely two years, and this happened!
It is ironic that the MEC for Social Development in the province is still studying the report irrespective of the recommendations by the Public Service Commission. Operation Clean Audit in the North West province has failed dismally simply because almost all municipalities are bankrupt. And in the meantime, our premier, hon Supra, boasts on every front page of the newspapers, advertising the municipalities.
In contrast, the South African Institute of Government Auditors ranked the Western Cape as the best-run province in the country. Indeed, hon Chairperson, what a good story to tell!
Another investigation by the Public Service Commission into former director- general Mr Bobby Soobrayan's role in the textbook scandal - he allegedly awarded a R243 million tender to Lebone Group Holdings - might reveal that his name is not cleared, despite the announcement by the Department of Basic Education on 31 March that Soobrayans's role in the textbook crisis had been finalised and that he has been cleared by Minister Angie Motshekga.
Again, whether the findings and recommendations of the Public Service Commission will be implemented remains to be seen. The annual report of 2012-13 states that the department employs nine people with varying disabilities, with six evacuation, Evac, chairs to assist people with disabilities. I believe that this department can improve in this regard.
Minister, I have been approached by a previous employee of this department who was born with cerebral palsy. Her name is Robyn Murphy. On 23 May 2000, she was involved in an incident at work. The incident was reported and accepted as being work-related.
She contacted various institutions, including the Presidential Hotline, to assist her with transportation for physically disabled people as she was unable to use mainstream public transport. Robyn was informed that there were constraints as the service was running at capacity and they were unable to register any new applicants, and she does not stay in a previously disadvantaged area.
This left her with no option but to rely on her 79-year-old mother to get her to and from work every day. Last year, she realised that she now was in a position to again apply for work. On 6 August 2013, she wrote to the then Minister for the Public Service and Administration to be considered for re- employment.
Minister, I am in possession of the response from the Ministry. At the time, the head of the Ministry, W F Hugo, stated that they acknowledged receipt of her letter, but until today she has not received any reply from the department. It seems that some Ministers in our Parliament not only treat Members of Parliament, but also the people down there, as less than they are, less than human. Perhaps they feel entitled to do so because they are the sons and daughters of a political elite.
Minister, today, almost a year later, I invited her and she is here today to witness that I, as a public representative, am submitting her plight to you. Minister, Robyn and I trust in you and believe that you will come back and give clarity on this matter. Thank you so much that you earlier indicated to me that you yourself will accept this envelope regarding the conversations and emails about Robyn.
I want to emphasise that it is not about Robyn here, it is about people with disabilities. I see no reason why her medical condition should deny her an opportunity to be part of mainstream society. I see no reason why she can't contribute to making a meaningful change in our society. I see no reason for this and that is why I appeal to the Minister to assist and please consider her for employment in this regard. [Interjections.] I am raising it now, hon member, because the then Minister did not give it a hearing.
Chairperson, the hastily passed Public Administration Management Bill gives the Minister of Public Service and Administration wide, unfettered, discretionary powers to pass regulations on the Public Service. We have petitioned the President to send this Bill back to Parliament to have it reviewed simply because we feel that there are a lot of gaps for bureaucracy within the system and ... [Time expired.] I thank you.
Hon members, I want to remind you once again that you cannot as a member of this House directly address the public or individuals in the gallery. It does not prevent any member, however, from referring to nonmembers of the House, but they must do so through the Chair.
Hon members are therefore reminded to observe this Rule when they take the floor. I thought that it was important to remind us of this, given the previous speaker's input where such reference was made.
Enkosi, Sihlalo. [Thank you, Chairperson.]
The EFF will not support this budget based on the following observations. Batho Pele means people first, but can we truly say this about this department? For us and millions of South Africans, it seems as if the mandate of this department and its representatives is batho morao, meaning "people last". The Batho Pele principles that this department promotes seem only to be wallboards of compliance in hospitals, police stations and other points of service.
One thing that the Department of Public Service and Administration is good at is promising people things and paying lip service. A clear indication of this is the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council Resolution 1 of 2012. It promised public servants that they would have been accommodated by the Government Employee Housing Scheme, GEHS, by now. That never happened.
These workers still cannot afford to live in decent houses and they still live in shacks. How do we expect them to serve this country and its people with enthusiasm when they are subjected to such conditions?
Baqhubeka bathenjiswa ngokuba ... [They were then promised that ...]
... health and safety issues would be monitored ...
... kwiindawo abasebenza kuzo, umzekelo iikliniki, apho uya khona ungazi nokuba uze kunyangwa okanye uze kuthatha ezinye izifo kusini na ... [... in their work places, for example, the clinics, where you go not knowing whether you are there for treatment or to contract other diseases ...]
... and we still expect our nurses to deliver effectively under those circumstances and not book off sick, something which hampers service delivery.
This budget fails to provide clarity on how it will provide adequate salaries and working conditions for all public servants. There needs to be an increase in the salaries of public servants - a minimum of 50% for all government's employees, particularly teachers, nurses, police and prison warders. [Interjections.] There is a continuing high wage gap in the Public Service sector. The EFF demands a reduction of the wage gap within the Public Service as a matter of urgency.
Government posts continue to be unfilled, while we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. The EFF demands that all government posts be filled and the requirement of five years working experience be abolished in order to facilitate new entrants into the Public Service. We, as the EFF, believe ... [Interjections.]
Hon members, can we please interject appropriately, but not in such a way that a member cannot be heard. The Minister needs to hear so that he can respond. Thank you.
Enkosi, Sihlalo. [Thank you, Chairperson.]
Firstly, how many public servants understand the Public Service Charter? The EFF challenges this department to do an assessment of how many officials understand or have even seen the Public Service Charter? The department then would need to do a proper and not a rushed workshop for its officials. Our people need to be served in a friendly and professional manner.
This government must stop the use of consultants and project management units to think on their behalf as a basis for delivering government services.
There are plenty of reported cases where public servants and representatives have been implicated in cases of corruption and maladministration. However, this government has failed to promptly respond to these incidents. They need to respond with the aim of firing and blacklisting corrupt state employees and private companies, and recover our people's money. [Time expired.]
Bye bye, go and demand a seat!
Hhayi singontanga, Mdu, Mhlonishwa Manana; angimncane baba.
Singontanga? (Translation of isiZulu sentences follows.)
[Mr M C MANANA: Oh, hon member!
No, we are of the same age group, Mdu, hon Manana, I'm not young, sir.
Are we the same age?]
Hon Chairperson, this department has one of the toughest mandates in government ... [Interjections.] Chair, I am not going to ...
Hon member, don't address one another in this House. Address each other through the Chair. Thank you.
... I refer specifically to the mandate to improve the professionalisation of service delivery by government to the people of our country. Batho Pele principles embody the ideal that people come first, and as such, people relations should be foremost in the minds of government employees and officials.
Hon Chairperson, the IFP has said it before, and we are saying it again today, that 20 years ago unfortunately there were many people in this country who felt that we, as black people, were not capable enough to rule a country and administer a democratic government.
That was one of the major fears during the negotiation process. Some people felt that it was in the DNA of black people to be inefficient, inept and corrupt. But we refused to believe this, and we pressed on.
Yet, how do we explain the many nurses in our public hospitals who just do not feel the inner duty to respond to the needs of suffering patients? And what are we to say about teachers who do not feel the calling to spare no energy and to double their dedication to teach the children so that, through better education, they may finally be emancipated from all that oppressed South Africa before?
If the call of duty is not felt in these two fields, it is no wonder that throughout the Public Service productivity and commitment is so low, which translates into poor service delivery. What has disrupted the moral fibre and discipline of our people? We know the answer, but refuse to acknowledge it.
The continued politicisation of unions is the greatest threat to the professional functioning of the Public Service. The politics of the tripartite alliance have often spilled over into the operational discourse of the Public Service, bringing service delivery to a painfull grinding halt, to the expense of communities, patients and learners.
Sadtu, in particular, ranks at the very top of the threats facing education. The passion, dedication, altruism and commitment to develop the black child is something that is foreign in the vocabulary of Sadtu. This union is the unmatched bane of our education. The ease to strike and to leave learners wanting is a clear indication that Sadtu does not care about the black child.
So, hon Minister, the IFP will support the initiatives aimed at entrenching Batho Pele and professional administration in all spheres of government and at all sectors of public administration. South Africa deserves an impartial, transparent, competent, accountable, efficient, effective, nonpolitical, nonpartisan and trustworthy Public Service.
Hon Chairperson, it is often said that failing to plan is planning to fail. Therefore, even though we have walked this path of plans before, the IFP welcomes the department's plans to get our Public Service working and functional. Hon Minister, your plans are noble on paper, and will be great in action. You dare not fail.
All of us must now take up our rightful place in the greater scheme of things and bring these plans to fruition and shape up the Public Service.
In the interests of the fisherman in Cape Town, the mineworker in Marikana, the learners in mud schools in the Eastern Cape and the patients in Natalspruit Hospital in Gauteng, the IFP will support this Budget Vote - for the sake of the people. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, the Minister for the Department of Public Service and Administration, the Deputy Minister, Ministers presents here, members of the committee, distinguished guests, hon members, the NFP supports the Department of Public Service and Administration's proposed budget in the hope that it will be spent wisely in fighting the high level of corruption and maladministration in the Public Service.
The NFP is concerned about the high number of public servants and government officials who are doing business with the government. This practice, Chairperson, must be thoroughly investigated, exposed and eradicated without fear or favour because it is denting the image of this department.
The NFP further submits that the Public Service Commission, PSC, be seen doing its work not only at the national and provisional levels, but also at the local government level. It is a well-known fact that some municipalities in this country are in a state of devastation due to the levels of corruption and poor management.
We also believe that the National School of Government, NSG, will bring professionalism back into the Public Service.
Kuyinto eyaziwayo ukuthi abantu bakithi abagculiseki uma behambele iMinyango kahulumeni - abasizakali ngendlela efanele kunjalo nje abaphathwa ngendlela eyiyo. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[It is a well-known fact that our people are not satisfied every time they visit government departments - they do not receive appropriate assistance and, moreover, they do not receive proper treatment.]
We therefore believe that the National School of Government should be able to capacitate and develop the staff so that they execute their duties with passion and dedication.
The NFP believes that the approval of this budget will definitely take this department to a much higher level than before so that it renders the expected quality of service.
Ngalawo mazwi, ngiyagcizelela ukuthi i-NFP iyayeleseka leli Voti Lesabiwomali, kodwa siyacela ukuthi iMinyango yahulumeni isize abantu bakithi ngendlela. Abantu mabangamiswa emigqeni emide uma beyofuna usizo. Abasebenzi bahulumeni mabaqeqeshwe ngendlela efanele bangabi nomqondo wokuthi emsebenzini kusemakubo. Indawo yahulumeni kufanele isebenzele abantu okuyibona abasuke bekhethe lowo hulumeni. Ngalawo mazwi Ngqongqoshe siyalemukela leli Voti Lesabiwomali. Ngiyabonga. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[With these words, I am emphasising that the NFP supports this Budget Vote, but we are requesting government departments to serve our people appropriately. People should not be kept waiting in long queues when they want service. The public servants should be properly trained and they should do away with the mentality of thinking that their work place is their fathers' places. The government facilities are there in service of the people, as they are the ones who voted for that government. With these words, hon Minister, we support this Budget Vote. Thank you.]
HON MEMBERS: Malibongwe! [Praise!]
Hon Chairperson of the House, Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon Deputy Ministers who are in the House today ...
Morning! [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
Nginibize ngamagama? [Should I call you by your name?]
I'm sorry, hon Chairperson, I'm sorry! [Laughter.] Hon members, all protocol observed, or it will eat into my time if I go on and on.
Thank you for affording us the opportunity to present to this esteemed House the 2014-15 Budget Vote for the Ministry of Public Service and Administration.
It is a great honour for me to address this House on this occasion, as this is a significant period in many ways. We are mindful that we today present our Ministry's first Budget Vote in the first term following the successful and peaceful elections. This is especially important because the year 2014 marks a significant milestone in our country, as we celebrate 20 years of democracy.
It is apt that we look back and appreciate that we are indeed closing a chapter in the history of this country. We, in government, are especially mindful of the fact that we are entering a new phase under the guidance of our people who have given us a resounding mandate.
Today our aspirations are to achieve Vision 2030 and, as such, our collective efforts, as the Public Service, are geared towards meeting the developmental goals, as set out in the National Development Plan, NDP.
Central to achieving this vision is the need for a well-run and effectively co-ordinated state institution with skilled public servants who are committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high quality services. We need to create a citizen-centred cadre that is responsive, timeous and courteous in the execution of its duties. To be able to achieve this, we need to create an environment that is conducive to productivity and one that will take care of the mental and physical agility of its members.
The Government Employees Medical Scheme, Gems - the chairperson usually says I am the number one fan of Gems - sets a sterling example of the standard of public institutions we seek to realise. As President Zuma pronounced earlier this year in his state of the nation address, Gems is a South African good story that continues to inspire.
Responding to the challenge presented by the President in his 2013 state of the nation address to combat lifestyle diseases, the scheme is currently piloting a workplace-based exercise and lifestyle programme for employees. Once the programme is finalised and approved, it will be rolled out across the Public Service in an effort to curb the obesity crisis the country is currently facing.
In keeping with the scheme's stated target for 2013, 70,4% of the beneficiaries who are estimated to be HIV-positive were enrolled with the Gems HIV Disease Management Programme by December 2013. The scheme's antiretroviral therapy, ART, adherence rate target is 85% for those taking ART and this was met.
The new chronic medicine management service was introduced to provide members with improved access to medicine, whilst greater participation of community pharmacies is encouraged.
In 2013, in line with the scheme's fraud policy and sanctions 62 providers were placed on indirect payment during the course of the year; 36 healthcare providers were reported to the Health Professions Council of SA, HPCSA; and nine healthcare providers were reported to the SA Pharmacy Council, SAPC. Criminal convictions were successfully pursued and sanctions were imposed, including the termination of membership of four members.
Gems continues to make a difference in the lives of our nation at large. As the second largest medical scheme in South Africa, in terms of membership numbers, Gems remains the fastest growing medical scheme with more than 1,8 million lives being covered.
The scheme has performed exceptionally well and is in a solid financial position. To bear testimony to this, the scheme was awarded first place in the medical industry in 2011 and 2013 for outstanding customer service in an independent survey that assessed customer service across 190 industries. So, all is well in the Public Service.
A complete departure from conventional, traditional ways of doing things to a platform where speed, efficiency and effectiveness are the operating standard is vital for South Africa's long-term development.
Tasked with entrenching the culture and practice of innovation for transforming the public sector into an efficient and effective machinery, the Centre for Public Service Innovation, CPSI, is instrumental in identifying, through its rewards programme, innovations that would maximise our impact as a government.
Chairperson, may I please take some water? [Interjections.]
Thank you. Service officers, can you please help and make sure that there is water?
There is a major need in the public sector to establish a government funding mechanism for research, development and innovation. This will provide service delivery institutions with seed funding for testing, piloting, replicating and mainstreaming solutions. In addition, the CPSI, as our driver for public sector innovation, requires additional sources to ensure sufficient internal capacity to drive its mandate.
The challenge for the CPSI in this term of government is how to speed up the transformation of the Public Service through innovative solutions. The centre needs to engage in a more proactive approach by going into government departments to establish what challenges are being experienced and to contribute to developing solutions to these weaknesses. We need the centre to be more than just a repository; it has to be a proactive agent in unravelling the challenges the administration faces.
An innovative instrument that serves as a channel for communication between government and communities is the Community Development Workers Programme, CDWP. The programme has afforded over 3 300 young men and women across the country an opportunity to play an integral part in service delivery, also creating employment for them.
Community development workers, CDWs, need to support the national development programmes by actively engaging citizens in their own development. To ensure a sound relationship with civil society organisations, during the 2014-15 financial year CDWs will support municipalities with implementing ward planning and socioeconomic growth initiatives, as well as dealing with service delivery complaints and position backdrops.
There is an increasing need for the programme to sharpen its functioning as an early warning mechanism. We need to know intimately what transpires in our communities in order to address these issues head-on before they blow out of control. As they conduct door-to-door visits, CDWs should be able to pick up the issues that impact seriously and negatively on service delivery.
Africa is writing its own history and this is through, amongst other means, the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM. This peer review mechanism has allowed the continent to review our collective efforts objectively in developing our continent and improving the lives of our people.
The President tabled South Africa's Third National Report at the 20th African Peer Review, APR, Forum held at the African Union, AU, on 29 January 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where it was officially endorsed by the APR Forum.
The process for consolidating the report was participatory in nature and included consultations with the African Peer Review National Governing Council, NGC, Provincial Governing Councils and other relevant stakeholders. This means that we consulted widely with civil society.
We are mindful that whilst there is a general tendency to discredit the APRM, there are legitimate complaints that need to be addressed, starting with turning around the APRM secretariat so that it is able to drive the initiative on behalf of member countries.
Our success as the African continent in developing a home-grown governance initiative in the form of the APRM has not gone unnoticed. The world has caught on, hence the launch of the Open Government Partnership, OGP, in September 2011. South Africa joined seven other countries in establishing the OGP.
Similar to the APRM, the OGP is a mechanism to promote increased accountability, transparency, citizen participation and the fight against corruption in their respective countries and across the world.
Since the launch of the OGP, South Africa has been a member of the OGP steering committee and has played a key role in convening OGP Africa regional events and discussion forums. Our decision to play such an active role in the governance and advocacy activities of this multilateral initiative was informed by our constitutional commitment to advance good governance locally and internationally.
Our view is that the OGP programme is a unique opportunity to once again galvanise members of South African society to work together to enhancing trust between government and its citizens. Therefore, in our tenure as co- chairperson of the OGP, we intend to ensure that we maximise South Africa's benefits by ensuring that the programme promotes domestic priorities that strengthen good governance initiatives.
We will focus on creating and strengthening mechanisms for civil society and government to interact; create and strengthen integrated systems for monitoring and supporting the dissemination of information to communities; enhance citizen participation through CDWs and other community forums; and encourage and foster the development of open data or information platforms, using government and nongovernment media to improve citizen access to information and data services.
Through the OGP, it is apparent that the time for transparency has come. People around the world are demanding much greater openness, democracy and accountability from their governments. Citizens increasingly believe that the information that governments hold has to be open for everyone to see.
Openness, accountability and transparency guide us as this government. The sum of all our actions over the next financial year will transform the Public Service and contribute to the tangible benefits of faster growth and better public services operating in an environment of good governance, ethics and integrity. Those who engage in acts of corruption do not represent the value system of the ruling party and its history of service to the people. I thank you. [Applause.]
Chairperson, Chapter 10 of our Constitution sets out the basic values and principles that should be governing our Public Service and Administration. It calls for, amongst other values and principles, a high standard of professional ethics; efficient, economic and effective use of resources; responsiveness; and accountability.
When measured against these basic values and principles, we are failing, and failing in a South African context means less achieving less than 30%. The National Development Plan, NDP, itself explicitly states that critical interventions are required to build a capable state.
In this regard, the NDP notes the following challenges: tensions in the political-administrative interface; instability of the administrative leadership; a skills deficit; the erosion of accountability and authority; poor organisational design; and low staff morale.
On Tuesday evening, on the Checkpoint programme, a shocking report was presented in respect of the water and sanitation disaster in Bloemhof that resulted in the deaths of innocent infants. Cope believes that what happened at Bloemhof is symptomatic of the rot that permeates our public administration in all spheres of our government and its entities.
Why do so many babies and mothers die of preventable and avoidable consequences? Why do sewerage systems collapse? Why do contractors fail to fix pipes?
The ANC's continued practice of crony deployment means the appointment to government jobs are more often than not made on the grounds of political allegiance rather than skills and experience. Crony politicians and cadre government employees are seldom held to account, if at all. They are also generally free to act with impunity.
Our communities are restless. They are angry about nepotism, deployment and corruption, and this is all part of the reason for the so-called service delivery protests that we are facing and which reverberate throughout our country on a daily basis. It is very nice to say let us stop the corruption.
I want to share the definition of corruption. If we go to 1841, it is:
The unfair practice by a person in power giving positions of authority and other favours to friends without regard to their qualifications ...
And it carries on:
Often the appointer is inadequate to hold his or her own job or position of authority and for this reason, the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken him or her or express views contrary to those of an appointment.
Hon Minister and Deputy Minster, if we are to build a capable state, then this portfolio committee and this Ministry need to do some serious introspection. The government needs to stop deployment and cadre employment. I thank you.
Thank you, hon Carter. Order members! I just want to indicate that I am sure those of you who have the speakers' list might have seen that after the Deputy Minister hon Dirks was supposed to speak. He is off sick and the Whippery has dealt with that matter and now those minutes will be dealt with.
I just thought it was necessary to explain because I could see some frowning on some of your faces about what could be happening. I will now ask hon Ntombela to come forward.
Hon Chairperson, the hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon chairperson of the portfolio committee, ladies and gentlemen and respected guests, before I proceed, I just want to indicate to Mr Mc Gluwa that it cannot be right that a member of your constituency takes it upon herself to make sure that she comes to see for herself that you are delivering what she asked you to. In such a situation one begins to say that there is something terribly wrong with you. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, I deliver this Budget Vote speech against the backdrop of the two most important political milestones in the history of our country.
The first one is the successful and peaceful hosting of the national elections during which the people's movement, the ANC, was mandated to govern by the majority of this country.
The second is the adoption of the National Development Plan: Vision 2030, which is the blueprint for charting a new course and writing a new story, Masupatsela.
At the centre of this magnificent plan of growth and development and the reduction of poverty and inequalities, is the commitment of this government to a capable developmental state that is able to produce leadership, sound policies and a skilled workforce and managers, has clear lines of accountability, can tackle corruption in the Public Service and has appropriate systems to use to achieve these objectives.
The Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon Collins Chabane, in his address to the conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, Iasia, spoke about the National Development Plan, NDP, which sets out a vision for our future and says that it is not the growth plan of a political party, it is our plan as a nation.
The Manifesto of the ANC aptly states that we need to, "Forge a disciplined, people centred and professional public service," able to develop, manage and monitor human resources as this is a prerequisite for a stable administrative interface. But the big question is: How do we, as government, propose to do or achieve this mammoth task?
Firstly, the introduction and launch of the Public Service Charter, which seeks to ensure, among other objectives, an effective, efficient and responsive Public Service, is a case in point. The former Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon Lindiwe Sisulu, during the launch of the Public Service Charter, aptly captured it when she said the service charter is, and I quote:
... a statement of intent that enables service beneficiaries to understand what they can expect from the state and forms the basis of engagement between government, citizens and organs of civil society.
The charter further determines, amongst other things, how government should act against issues of corruption and fraudulent activities in the Public Service, and that includes issues of nepotism and maladministration.
Furthermore, the transversal management policies which strive to ensure good governance and facilitate best human resource management functions and practices is imperative and is a tool for this programme. For the sake of emphasis, Chairperson, this should be applicable to all spheres of government.
Remember that the attributes of the developmental state that we all aim for is highly dependent on the efficiency of the three spheres of government. At the 52nd ANC National Conference in Polokwane, the ANC adopted a resolution.
This resolution gives context and framework of our desire to realise the state that we are talking about. Paramount also to the purpose of this programme, which is the human resources management and development programme, is to develop and implement an integrated strategy to monitor employment practices, conduct human resource planning and diversity management, and to improve the health and wellbeing of the employees of the state.
It therefore stands to reason, hon Chair, that among the six funded programmes of the Department of Public Service and Administration, the spending patterns of programmes that I am talking about, in particular, will focus on the following: building a capable Public Service, improving recruitment policies and reducing vacancy rates.
To further strengthen the Department of Public Service and Administration, in the state of the nation address the President also highlighted the following: a target of 2% for the intake of internships for experiential training; the finalisation of the national disability rights policy; and the approved equity targets on race, gender and people living with disabilities.
The NDP sets out Vision 2030 for South Africa with key targets, and already the ball is rolling. We are indeed a government at work. We are indeed taking strides in making Public Service and Administration a pillar of strength for this government.
The modernisation of the Public Service is critical in ensuring the Public Service that we all envisage. The introduction of state information technology plays a central role in the rolling out of relevant skills. Furthermore, improving the capacity of cadres in the Public Service necessitated the establishment of the National School of Government, NSG, so that as government we respond to challenges of skills training and development.
Yes, there are challenges and shortcomings; however, good work is in progress. Note the following: training on the needs analysis at local government has been done; financial management skills training has been rolled out in Limpopo and Mpumalanga; and a good working relation with four academies for the training of councillors is effective across the country. I am talking about the programme in the Free State, Western Cape, KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng. These academies are linked to the NSG and it should be borne in mind, hon members, that all training programmes are monitored and evaluated on site.
So, the application of learning studies and the programme evaluation yields positive results; but, of course, more needs to be done. I can boldly say to the House that 114 training programmes have already been rolled out to close to 40 000 students per annum; and of this 114, 46 were accredited. So, the ethos and the ideal concept to develop this is consistent with the development of a management cadre.
Can I pose this question: Does the National School of Government have a role to play in the country? Does the National School of Government have a place in our society? Does the National School of Government have a function to perform? The answers to all three questions is an unequivocal yes!
However, the political willpower and the organisational support is critical to the development of this school so that we can compare ourselves to the likes of the cole Nationale d'Administration, ENA, the school of government in France, China, Senegal and Kenya, to name but a few, in the years to come. So, my emphasis here is that we are on the right course.
The ANC led-government remains resolute in its quest to develop and create a Public Service that pursues a developmental agenda, strengthened by the priorities to which I have alluded. The Constitution of South Africa provides mechanisms for monitoring, evaluating and investigating public administration practices. Our strength in this particular regard lies with the Public Service Commission, PSC, which is invested with the custodial oversight responsibilities for the Public Service.
The PSC, being the champion of public administration excellence in South Africa, has a right to have grievances lodged and report on finalised cases of financial misconduct. All this is done in the spirit of good governance. The Constitution is there to protect it; it has to do its work. [Interjections.] The Presidency, demonstrating a total commitment to the eradication of corrupt practices in the Public Service, Mr Mc Gluwa, launched the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, which is also managed by this organ.
The successful investigation of cases of alleged corruption reported through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, Nach, has since 2004 resulted in the recovery of R330 million from perpetrators. The PSC has commenced with 100% scrutiny of financial disclosure forms. In 2013 alone, 73% or 9 413 senior managers' disclosures were scrutinised to assess actual and potential conflicts of interest.
Over 3 300 potential conflicts of interest and 54 actual conflicts were identified, reinforcing the recommendation that Public Service managers are not expected to do work with government. This is a good work in progress. Of course, it will be politically naive of me to say all is hunky-dory, there are no hurdles. [Interjections.]
Hon member, may I remind you that you have two minutes left.
The filling of funded vacancies is still a challenge. The capacity constraints to enable the PSC to attend to the backlog of cases are still a problem.
As I conclude, I would like to say that the role of transforming a society by marshalling a Public Service that is efficient, effective and capable is no task for the weak. The overwhelming elective majority reminds us of the trust the people of South Africa have in the ANC.
Therefore, the clarion call is louder than ever: The people of South Africa from all walks of life yearn for a leaner, cleaner and more capable state - a responsibility this ANC has wholeheartedly embraced. That is the South Africa that the Freedom Charter envisaged.
The ANC supports the vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon members, hon Minister Chabane, hon Deputy Minister Dlodlo, the department led by the Director- General and heads of all entities, sanbonani!
I want to start by saying that Parliament's programme has become very popular. It has drawn many viewers. As a result, it becomes crucial that we, as the ANC, lead this country, and we must make it very clear that we are continuing to lead the country by addressing communities rather than the people who oppose every Budget Vote.
It is also crucial to provide some clarity and to dispel the confusion that has been created at this podium.
So much has been said about the ANC-led government not doing a good thing. It's not about not doing a good thing. Even the transparency that you talked about is because of this ANC. The manner in which you are able to talk today that you are able to stand at this podium whilst having a similar pigmentation to me, is because of this ANC. [Applause.] It is critical that, instead of pointing fingers, one realises that the ANC has created opportunities for everybody to manage the country. Let us manage the country. Let us stop pointing fingers.
The department is there. You can't wish away the ANC. You can't say the ANC never implemented the policies - we have clean audits. We can't continue saying that. We cannot say that the Cabinet Ministers and their Deputy Ministers treat some Members of Parliament and the public worse than others. That is just not true! Because the constitution of the ANC clearly stipulates that the ANC is a caring organisation. We care! [Interjections.] You are doing all the things that you are doing because we care. [Applause.] [Interjections.] No, no ...
Order, hon members!
The people who do not have policies ... [Interjections.]
Just leave them, Chairperson. I will handle them because they don't know what they are talking about. [Interjections.]
The people who do not have policies speak so much but they don't want to improve on what the ANC has put on the table. The DA has not employed one person who is physically challenged, yet they are able to point fingers at the ANC-led government and say this and that about what the ANC has done, it has appointed this one or that one - I mean, come on! We need to respect others more than anything else. You need to respect your voters. They sent you here to effect changes. They are listening and they will be listening tomorrow that you are supporting no votes. What does that mean? It's irresponsible, you're not accountable and you don't care. You care about yourselves, but that is not the ANC! [Applause.]
Hon Chair, today we appreciate and acknowledge the never-say-die contributions of our forebears. If it were not for the meeting of the Congress of the People in Kliptown on 26 January 1955, the lives of our people would have remained unchanged. That is very true. Let me quote from the Freedom Charter, our bible. It declares:
All people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security.
It is for this reason that the ANC-led government promotes home ownership among public servants. The ANC appreciates the proposal on a funding model and an institutional framework for the Government Employees Housing Scheme, GEHS. The ANC applauds the implementation approach, which states that the scheme will be phased in.
The hon members on my left do not say this. They see the scheme and say, "Why are you not implementing it? You must implement it now!" That's the problem. The voters who voted for them must realise today that they have actually misplaced their votes by voting for people who do not care about them, and who do not even care about what is happening in the country.
These are difficult times in the current financial environment. No-one can expect the department to create miracles with regard to the remuneration for the Public Service. I'm trying to give a lecture to the EFF. The ANC, coming from that understanding of fiscal constraints, requests the department to fast-track the development of the remuneration policy for the Public Service, benchmarking on salaries and conditions of service, so as to be able to analyse government spending on personnel.
As the ANC, we develop policies but we also look at our own policies in order to identify loopholes and weaknesses. We don't point fingers. That is what we are going to do because we are here to lead and we are here to govern.
The Department of Public Service and Administration leads the process of the modernisation of the Public Service by assisting government departments to implement their management policies, systems and structural solutions according to acceptable norms and standards.
It is for this reason, hon Minister, that the proposed public sector innovation division is to be anchored and more capacitated. We have realised with the allocation of the budget that you know better, hon Minister, but we will appreciate it - because you will be exercising an oversight over it - if it is more capacitated. There are problems and you have said so yourself, so we really appreciate it.
The ANC envisages efficient and effective systems, and solutions to all service delivery problems. If those systems are put in place through well- capacitated personnel, the ANC will be able to say that, indeed, all South Africans are receiving the services that are due to them.
South Africa is different to what it was before 1994. It is a fact. Whether you deny it or not, it's a fact. The ANC will never fail South Africa's citizenry ... [Interjections.] Thank you.
The ANC will never fail South Africa's citizenry of all colours, creeds and religions. Let us change the negative perceptions of the Public Service because we cannot fail to do that. The 2008-09 global financial recession should be a learning curve for all of us. How the world perceives South Africa is a key element, rather than how you judge individual public servants.
As I close, today the ANC says to all South African people who have jobs that it's a privilege to have a job. Respect it because it is your father and your mother. Do it thoroughly, irrespective of your job description or salary notch, and be honest in front of your supervisor or when he is not there. The ANC supports the Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]
Voorsitter, Minister en lede, ek wil minister Chabane bedank vir sy toespraak. Hy het duidelik gewys hy het reeds 'n goeie begrip van hierdie departement waarvoor hy nou verantwoordelikheid aanvaar het.
Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan, NOP, is duidelik: T min Suid-Afrikaners het werk. Die internasionale ervaring is dat ekonomiese groei ten beste deur die privaat sektor gedryf word. Die ho vlakke van werkloosheid sal alleen verlaag word deur volgehoue groei in die privaat sektor. Dit is dan ook ons visie van 'n oop, geleentheidsgedrewe samelewing.
Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan: Visie 2030 is duidelik. Die privaat sektor moet ondersteun word deur 'n effektiewe Staatsdiens en staatsadministrasie. Die Staatsdiens het enorme veranderinge, noem dit transformasie as u wil, oor die laaste jare gesien. Sommige hiervan was goed, en ons erken graag dat dienste nou gelewer word aan gebiede wat voor 1994 dikwels afgeskeep is.
Tog het ons ook te veel mislukkings van die Staatsdiens oor die afgelope jare gesien, en danksy die DA is 'n hele klomp hiervan aan die kaak gestel. My kollega agb Mc Gluwa en die agb Minister het verwys na die groeiende probleem van korrupsie, en dat anonieme aanmeldlyne, oftewel "hotlines", soos dit algemeen bekend staan, en 'n verskeidenheid strukture wat hiermee moet handel, besig is met 'n opdraande stryd.
Minister, ons is dankbaar dat dit ook u aandag gaan geniet. Hierdie stryd het die President genoop om 'n groot deel van sy staatsrede hieraan te wy en verskeie planne aan te kondig.
Een van hierdie planne is die aankondiging van 'n sentrale tenderraad vir alle regeringsfere. Ongelukkig het juis hierdie plan die potensiaal om die tenderprosesse in die Staatsdiens, wat alreeds een van die probleem-areas in die Staatsdiens is, nog lomper te maak en tenderprosesse nog langer uit te rek. Maar as dit kan help met die korrupsie, waarvan Nkandla waarskynlik maar die oortjies van die seekoei is, sal die DA dit met voorbehoude steun.
Daar word dikwels gemeld dat die Staatsdiens goed is met beplanning, maar dat die probleme hoofsaaklik by die implementering van hierdie goeie planne l. Ek verskil. Goeie beplanning sluit tog ook in planne vir implementering. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mr A P VAN DER WESTHUIZEN: Chairperson, Minister and hon members, I wish to thank Minister Chabane for his speech. He has shown clearly that he already has a good understanding of this department for which he is now responsible. The National Development Plan, NDP, makes it clear: Too few South Africans have work. International experience proves that economic growth is best driven by the private sector. The high levels of unemployment will be lowered only by means of sustained growth in the private sector. This is indeed also our vision of an open, oportunity-driven society.
The National Development Plan: Vision 2030 is clear. The private sector needs to be supported by an effective Public Service and state administration. The Public Service has in recent years seen enormous changes, call them transformation, if you wish. Some of these were good, and we are pleased to acknowledge that services are now being delivered to areas which were often neglected before 1994.
However, we have also seen too many failures by the Public Service in the past few years, and thanks to the DA, a whole lot of these have been exposed. My colleague the hon Mc Gluwa and the hon Minister referred to the increasing problem of corruption and the fact that anonymous reporting lines, or ?hotlines?, as they are commonly known, and a variety of structures that need to deal with these, are engaged in an uphill battle.
Minister, we are grateful that this is also receiving your attention. This battle has compelled the President to devote a large part of his state of the nation speech to this and to announce various plans.
One of these plans is the announcement of a central tender board for all spheres of government. Unfortunately, this very plan has the potential to make the tender processes in the Public Service, which are already one of the problem areas in the Public Service, even clumsier and to extend the tender processes even further. But if this is going to assist with fighting corruption, of which Nkandla is probably only the tip of the iceberg, the DA will support it with certain reservations.
It is often said that the Public Service is good with planning, but that the problems lie chiefly with the implementation of these good plans. I beg to differ. Good planning surely also includes plans for implementation.]
Where was the excellent planning to cope with the recent increased demands placed on the Public Service after the Minister of Home Affairs issued new immigration regulations and when people had to learn that the delays of several weeks in the issuing of travel documentation would be aggravated and that this would lead to delays of several months?
Where were the excellent plans when the presidential hotline was introduced in 2009 and when, for many months, only a small percentage of phone calls could be dealt with?
Where are the plans to address the growing backlog in housing to manage the migration from rural areas? Where are the plans to deal with the long queues that we see daily at some offices? I could go on and on.
It remains a challenge to our Public Service to acknowledge excellent service and to attract and retain people with the necessary skills, people who display an entrepreneurial approach to service delivery. I therefore welcome the Minister's focus, in his speech, on addressing this challenge.
Too many public servants are still unable to distinguish between an entrepreneurial approach to their work, which is a good thing, and personal entrepreneurial ventures where they are benefiting, often in corrupt ways, from public funds. The DA welcomes the recent announcement that, in future, public servants will have to declare their business interests.
This is another instance where the Western Cape provincial government has shown national government the way.
The DA also supports the announcement by the President in his state of the nation address that the number of internships in the public sector will be increased. We believe that the skills gained under this programme will reduce unemployment amongst the youth.
Please note, Minister, we trust that the opportunities to apply for these internships will be open to all South Africans and not only to a few well- connected young people.
Minister Chabane also referred to the Public Service Commission's reports stating year after year that only a low percentage of grievances in the public sector are being dealt with within the timelines stated in the regulations. These are all signs of weak management in the public sector.
When one visits the offices of public entities and government departments - which we, as parliamentarians, are often privileged to do - one cannot help but to observe the bottlenecks caused by poor allocation of resources, outdated office equipment, the lack of proper filing equipment and poor workflow processes. Surely any competent manager should at a glance be able to identify these as problem areas.
Some delays are, however, not that obvious to observe. We also support President Zuma's observation in his response to the state of the nation address that- There is a need to enhance skills development in areas such as financial management. Shortcomings become glaring each time the Auditor-General releases his annual report.
He also said, and I quote:
We agree with honourable members that part of improving the performance of the state is to get government to pay small businesses and other suppliers promptly within 30 days.
Te veel klein entrepreneurs, veral opkomende entrepreneurs, het al bankrot gespeel as gevolg van die staat se vertraging in die vereffening van hul rekeninge. [Too many small entrerpreneurs, particularly emerging entrepreneurs, have gone bankrupt in the past as a result of the state's delays in settling their accounts.]
However, efficiency in administration also requires relevant technology. The State Information Technology Agency, Sita, has been beset with problems since its inception in April 1999. The current chief executive officer, Mr Nomvalo, is the 17th chief executive officer in the last 15 years.
The Sita has been through many turnaround exercises. The problem is this: The State Information Technology Agency Amendment Act, Act 38 of 2002, identified Sita as the sole entity to establish and maintain computer networks for all government departments. All information technology, IT, equipment and services must be procured through this entity, despite this entity lacking stability and leadership for so long. It is only when Sita declares a service as one beyond its capability that government departments are allowed to procure IT equipment and services elsewhere.
This week's presidential proclamation, which intends to move the responsibility for Sita from Minister Chabane's ambit to that of the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, will do little to bring the much-needed stability to Sita, neither will this move impact positively on the level of service supplied by Sita.
The current senior management of Sita has embarked on a valuable and, at times, brutally honest self-assessment of the organisation. The strategic plan points out that 50% of all tenders are cancelled, that customers do not know about the progress and delays with tenders and that Sita has been unable to leverage economies of scale in its procurement processes.
Kortliks, die staat betaal meer vir rekenaars as waarvoor dit in die oop mark gekoop kan word. [Briefly, the state pays more for computers than they could be purchased for in the open market.]
In its strategic plan for 2014 to 2019, Sita stated that it takes more than 12 months to deliver on tender requests, that it is slow to enter into new contracts after they expire and that some contracts are therefore repeated up to five times without testing the market. No wonder, then, that out of an estimated annual budget of R25 billion for information communications technology, ICT, spending, less than R4,3 billion is addressed by Sita.
It is clear that many government departments have done everything they can to circumvent Sita in their ICT spending. It is generally accepted that access to information technology is paramount to this country's future economic growth. The National Development Plan is quite clear on this in saying that ICT can be used as a tool to fight poverty, increase employment, education and entrepreneurship.
Most of these goals can also apply to the Public Service. The DA will therefore continue to measure the Department of Public Service and Administration against these goals. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers, chairperson of the portfolio committee, senior managers and CEOs present, distinguished guests, fellow South Africans ...
... siyanibingelela. Sihlalo, masiqale sivumelane, sibonge, sivume ukuthi izakhamuzi zaseNingizimu Afrika zithume uKhongolose ukuthi ubuye uzosihola kuleli lizwe laseNingizimu Afrika. Lokho sikuphakamisa sinokubonga okunentobeko nokuthi asizikukuthatha kalula. Siyokuphatha kahle kuhle kwezikhali zamantungwa njengoba sathembisa ukuthi sizokwenze njalo, sizonihola nonke nabathukuthele benjalo. [Uhleko.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[... I greet you. Chairperson, let us first agree, appreciate and accept that the people of South Africa have mandated the ANC to return to lead them in this country. We are saying this with great appreciation and humility and we are not taking it for granted. We appreciate your faith in us. We will lead all of you as we promised, even the bitter ones, bitter as they are. [Laughter.]]
Yes, there has been a good story and it will continue to be so.
Mangiqale ngidlulise lokhu okuncane okungabalulekile. Mhlonishwa we-EFF, mina ngiyamangala ukuthi ubuthule sengathi ulahlekile ekomidini manje usunokuningi okushoyo la? Hhayi bo! Iyababazeka le ndaba. Angikwazi ukukhuluma ngabanye, uyabona nje ukuthi abawona namalungu ekomidi, bayafika, bazivakashele, abanye bayazintantela nje emoyeni, impela ingabe ngichitha isikhathi sami. Umhlonishwa uDlamini-Dubazana udlulile kulolu daba ngeke ngisaluthinta, kuyoba sengathi ngidicilela isithunzi sabanye phansi. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Let me first say these few words. Hon member from the EFF, I am very surprised that you now have much to say here when you were so quiet in the committee. My, oh my! This is indeed surprising! I do not want to mention the others because they are not even committee members; they just come but do not participate. They just come to visit. I would be wasting my time. Hon Dlamini-Dubazana has addressed the issue and I will not revisit it as if I have no respect for other people.]
Chairperson, effective organisational transformation which results in excellent service delivery is non-negotiable in this radical phase of economic transformation. The NDP dictates that we get an administration that is responsive, competent and committed.
Hon Chairperson, allow me to quote. John C Maxwell, a renowned leadership scholar, put it very clearly when he said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". That is the ANC. That is the kind of public administration we need, a caring and responsive administration.
Through enhancement of the Public Service Commission, which champions and monitors norms and standards, we as the portfolio committee will ensure that we support their efforts in ensuring that only competent and suitably experienced people are appointed to senior positions. This will make the Public Service a career of choice for young people and all citizens. This is on top of our priority list of ANC matters that need to be attended to. I am sure the Minister has articulated it very well and clear. I must also quickly say that the ANC urges this House, even those who have something to say that is not implementable, to support this Budget Vote.
The struggle and quest to transform the Public Service underpins the understanding that the business as usual phase has come to an end.
Equally important is the need to vigorously promote responsible citizenry in our country, which does not just demand services from the government but do their part as well in ensuring sustainable public services. Only informed and responsible citizens can effectively hold the public service accountable and ensure quality equitable service provision.
The Batho Pele programme must and has to walk the talk in the soul and blood of service delivery institutions, including the Khaedu Programme, which ensures that Palama trains senior public managers, as articulated by the hon Ntombela. These are genuine commitments and efforts by the ANC-led government to ensure that Batho Pele is adhered to in the Public Service space. Notwithstanding our commitment, more needs to be done to change the bad habits of some or our public administration servants - some, not all.
Socioeconomic development is, as expected, well articulated in the outcome of the NDP of the country, which has been alluded to by the chairperson and I will not repeat that. Standards and compliance of office in the Public Service promote professional ethics and compliance to norms and standards.
With regard to underperformance, the portfolio committee will ensure that it performs its robust and very alive oversight role. However, I must say that invoking section 100 of the South African Constitution should be the very last resort with regard to noncompliance with the Public Service regulations prescripts.
The Public Administration Management Bill is coming. Izofika i-PAM Bill, which will further empower the Public Service Commission to identify problems early, and to recommend and assist with punitive measures to turn weaknesses into strengths for better capacitated provincial and local government. Woza PAM Bill, sikulindele. [Come, PAM Bill, we are waiting for you.] The ANC will deliver that.
The committee intends to go out there in full force in collaboration with all clusters of Parliament to unlock any bottleneck and low appetite in respect of professional, efficient performance that seems to drown and shock our Public Service.
Hon Chairperson, allow me to walk through hon members who do not ever go to conferences or have resolutions. The ANC manifesto articulates clearly that we will ensure that fighting corruption and crime within the Public Service is one of our 22 predetermined objectives. We have to intensify the fight against corruption in both the public and private sectors through measures to restrict public servants from doing business and hold public office. They have to be accountable; even individually, people should be liable for losses incurred as a result of corruption action. It could also be corruption in respect of not doing what you are supposed to do at the right time, as committed to in your Key Performance Indicators, KPIs. The ANC will be exemplary in this regard.
As the oversight committee, through the leadership of our chairperson, we will strongly encourage the department to embark on a campaign of turning the workplace into a training space, where there will be an increase in the number of spaces for FET graduates and unemployed graduates to get experimental training. This will be part of an organisational facelift towards transformation.
Furthermore, let us take steps to strengthen existing laws and institutions to ensure faster change in the employment equity landscape in all workplaces by enforcing and accelerating employment equity targets - not ...
... ukudlala ngokuhlupheka kwabantwana; sizobaletha la sifune ukubukisa ngabo, siqede lapho singenzi lutho. [... trivialising their situation by bringing them here, making fun of their desperation and not doing anything to help them.]
Promotion of a healthy lifestyle in the workplace will increase productivity and reduce risk factors associated with low levels of performance and creativity.
Let us now hear ANC resolutions once more. I am just giving you that free of charge.
Malungu ahloniphekile, hambani nani niye ezingqungqutheleni khona nizobakhulumela benitshelile ukuthi bafuna nizothini la, ningavele nizikhulumele ningathunywanga ngumuntu. Kodwa-ke akusho lutho. Sizoqhubeka sinihole, sibahole ngendlela efanele. Siyokwenze njalo njengoba sathembisa sathi ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Hon members, you must also attend public hearings in order to ensure that you represent the people properly and voice their views. You must not assume that you understand what they need without getting the mandate from them. But we will continue our responsible leadership. We will do exactly as we promised, that ...]
... we will ensure that we improve and bring a better life to our people. The country needs more integrated co-operative governance to ensure avoidance of duplication in the workforce, where there is a commonality and some sight of the end results in promoting better, faster delivery. Clear alignment between the NDP and PGDS, which seeks to address segregation, should be encouraged too as one of the pillars of a developmental state.
Chairperson, service delivery and organisational transformation are about change management, moving away from business as usual by doing things differently for the betterment of South Africans; by changing mindsets and management style; correctly spacing skills or competences of public servants; having the will to do what is right at the expected, agreed time; institutionalising the way of doing business; having policies that make it possible to deliver and manage better in a developmental state environment; and institutionalising of systems that support better, faster service delivery and organisational transformation. More especially, the tools of trade for the transformed technical management standards will be in place.
The Fifth Parliament's Department of Public Service and Administration will ensure that the above are entrenched within the soul and the blood of the public sector as an institution through a robust, critical oversight role. The better performance management systems, dashboards and the like will ensure that there is value for money in service delivery.
Hence the importance of key performance contracts which is one of the tools to assess performance better. We will eradicate corrupt tendencies of not doing what you are supposed to do at the stipulated time. Key performance indicators, KPIs, are critical tools to ensure that Public Service does respect turnaround times. But we have to support individuals lacking capacity through mentorship, training and development; indirectly curbing a high wage bill by paying performance bonuses unfairly to the ones who don't deserve them.
I now want to deal with the matter of reaching maturity, which the hon Ntombela articulated very well. The department was last reported to be at maturity level 3 regarding risk management systems. It was the department's wish to achieve maturity level 4. For real transformation to take place and to reinforce the values of a developmental state, it is crucial that risk management systems improve and mature. Unmitigated risks are the main causes of service delivery challenges and wasteful and fruitless expenditure. The country, with over 300 years of backlog regarding transformation, cannot afford to engage in wasteful and fruitless expenditure.
However, I am sure our people have voted the ANC back into government because they do appreciate that within 20 years we cannot do miracles. Together, we can do more. We are pushing South Africa forward. The service delivery planning toolkit is an effective instrument to equip managers and junior officials with the necessary resources to plan on how to deliver services efficiently and to improve on it as it becomes institutionalised.
Government signed, on behalf of the country, the African Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration, which was further cascaded down to state and departmental level in collaboration with labour so that there was wide buy-in by all stakeholders. This is the time to demonstrate that the country, government and the Public Service subscribe to these values and principles without fail. Yes, hon Minister, we will ensure that we exercise very healthy, alive, and robust oversight to ensure that we assist the department to achieve the commitment goal.
The Batho Pele principles are the core pillars of service delivery and respect for clients in the public service. The principles are the basis on which the Service Delivery Improvement Plans, SDIPs, are designed. The plans cannot be designed outside the Batho Pele principles. By now, after 20 years of liberation and democracy, as well as the country's desire to move from being a developmental state to a developed operational state, there is absolutely no need for the clients of the Public Service to still be complaining about poor service in state institutions. The attitude works against the grain of a developmental state and a government that wants to ensure a better life for all. The officials who engage in such dishonour are causing embarrassment to our beloved state and country. I am sure hon Dubazana and hon Ntombela have stated it very clearly. Even the chairperson's expression of why the ANC supports this budget was well articulated, and that is a commitment. [Interjections.]
Hon member, could you please conclude.
Hon Chairperson, hon members, distinguished guests, allow me to take this opportunity once more to encourage the Department of Public Service and Administration, its entire workforce and senior management, Palama, the Public Service Commission and all associates under the stewardship of the Minister and Deputy Minister, to forge ahead in ensuring that the Public Service is professional and developmentally oriented for the betterment of the lives of its people.
Our fellow portfolio committee members, thank you so much for the support and the administration. Siyabonga kakhulu. [Thank you very much.] Working together, we can definitely do more, pushing South Africa forward. The ANC supports Vote 12. Thank you, hon Chairperson, for the opportunity given to us. [Applause.]
Chairperson, allow me to thank the hon members from all political parties for their comments, suggestions and wisdom that they have passed on to the department. I think all the speakers had very valuable information to share with us.
Let me start with a confession. Notwithstanding the comments which have been made by the chairperson and other members with regard to Mr Mc Gluwa for what he has done - the advice and the correction which has been made - I am a bit of an accomplice to the problem. Before we started, he came to me and said he had a problem and asked if I would mind if he spoke about it at the podium. I said no, I did not have a problem.
So, to that extent, I am an accomplice because I am not sure if he would have withdrawn had I said no, but at least he had the courtesy to come to me to say that he had this issue. [Interjections.] I think I need to raise that and it's important for me to say it, because we did talk about the issue earlier on. However, we will take the matter further in spite of the challenges that might have appeared.
With regard to the issue on the Public Service Commission, PSC, that you have raised, hon member, I had the privilege to serve on the management committee of the Constitutional Assembly at the time we were drafting the Constitution. I participated in a number of theme committees. There is a reason why each and every institution has been given powers and a space in the Constitution in the manner in which it has been done.
I do not want to go into details now. We can debate that later, but I think the PSC has the right to tell Parliament what it thinks will enhance its work in terms of operations, because it reports to Parliament anyway. However, I just wanted to say that it is the role of Parliament to decide that; it is not for the department to do so. The PSC is one of the hybrid institutions. We can debate those issues at some point, but it has the right to raise those issues. So, it is for Parliament to decide whether or not to increase their powers. It is not an issue for the department to deal with.
Let me come to the matter which has been raised. There are a few issues which we South Africans have never debated thoroughly and I think there is a need for us to begin this debate. One of them is the constant accusation that government is spending a lot of money and wasting resources on consultants.
I would like a debate on that issue, because most people debate it without having applied their minds to it. As a result, we begin to brand consultants as if they are simply criminals; doing consulting work is like doing something criminal.
The reality is that it is undesirable and it will never happen that government institutions do not use consultants in this country, or anywhere else in the world. It is not possible. If you want us to argue, we can argue and explain how it works.
The problem we face is the capacity for government to manage consultants. That is the problem, and I think that is the issue we must attend to, rather than attending to the wrong one. If you want to debate it, I am willing to continue to debate it and find solutions to it. The way the debate is carrying on now is, I think, going in the wrong direction.
There are a few issues which have been raised by the EFF. When I was at school, I did science. I never did history, so some of my recollections may be wrong. There was an incident sometime in history that referred to Nongqawuse ... [Interjections.] Am I correct?
HON MEMBERS: Yes, you are right.
The community was advised, very wrongly by very wise people, to engage in activities which led to calamities. [Interjections.] The proposals which are being made by the EFF almost border on that. [Laughter.] [Applause.] It would be totally disastrous for the nation. [Interjections.]
However, just to update you, the issue of the housing scheme is on track. We are dealing with that along with labour. Everything is moving very smoothly. We think we will be able to conclude it quite soon and deal with all the technicalities which are supposed to happen. I do not have the privilege to disclose the content and so forth because we are still discussing it with labour, and it has arisen as part of an agreement that has been reached. [Interjections.]
You will never find the issue of the budget for salaries with us. It does not reside with us. If you go to our budget, you will never see the budgets for all the departments. You will only see the budget for this department. However, we, representing the employer, are the lead department for pursuing negotiations related to budgets with labour.
At this stage, we are not at liberty to disclose or to discuss with anybody outside the bargaining forum the details and content of what is going to happen, what the proposals are and what the things are that will be coming in. Once the process starts, all that information will become public.
Therefore, we think we need to proceed in that way, but I can assure you that everything is under control. We are very serious. We are very committed to ensuring that we improve the living conditions of the workers. Even we, ourselves, are very critical about it.
The last point is this: We set our own targets, and it must be measured in terms of what we set ourselves, not what other people set. We will come and tell you what we are going to do. Evaluate us according to what we say, not according to what we think we should do. [Applause.] If we do it that way, I think we will progress very well in the end.
There is another issue I would like to address and that is cadre development. Parties which have been in power, such as the DA, understand it very well, though they might not call it that. Something is happening there, similar to what we are doing, so we are not going to be apologetic about it. The thing is how does one manage it in such a way that the broader part of society is not marginalised, but feels part of the system and feels supported? That is important.
The DA knows this very well. You know, when they sent that member to go and lead the investment arm of Cape Town ... [Laughter.] ... that is a clear indication of what I am talking about. So, that's why they are not talking about it too much now. After having been in power, they understand all too well how it works. Thank you very much. [Applause.]